Herpes typically presents itself with itchiness and a tingly sensation around the areas where ulcers or blisters begin to form, particularly in the genitals. In a majority of cases, patients do not notice any signs and symptoms until after 2-3 weeks of contracting the infection. When people first begin to exhibit symptoms, they also usually experience flu-like symptoms such as a fever, chills, and headaches. However, some patients may be completely asymptomatic. Many treatments are available to treat herpes symptoms, yet, at the moment, you cannot cure herpes.
Herpes is primarily spread via sexual contact, which includes oral, vaginal, and anal intercourse. Herpes is highly pervasive in the United States, with 1 in 5 individuals living with the infection—whether they know their status or not. Genital herpes is brought on by a virus known as herpes simplex-2 or HSV-2. However, its relative herpes simplex-1 or HSV-1—the type of herpes that causes cold sores around the mouth—can also be contracted via sexual activity.
Genital herpes can be transmitted even if an infected individual does not present any symptoms.
Treatment of Herpes
If a patient experiences frequent and/or severe outbreaks, treatments can help relieve pain and symptoms. In most cases, physicians place patients on antiviral medications such as acyclovir or ().
These medications can relieve pain and itching. Additionally, they lessen the frequency and severity of genital herpes outbreaks. While you are experiencing an outbreak, even if you are asymptomatic, it is important to avoid intimate physical contact and sexual intercourse. Intimate contact includes kissing.
Ongoing studies are striving to discover new therapies to eliminate genital herpes. Currently, the focus remains on microbicides. Microbicides are substances that safeguard the body against diseases by destroying pathogens before they get a chance to penetrate the body. There are presently two promising drugs in development: tenofovir (a topical gel) and siRNA nanoparticles.
Research reveals that these chemicals can potentially destroy the herpes virus while lowering the risk of transmission; they can also possibly be effective in eliminating more sexually transmitted infections.
Medical researchers are also attempting to formulate new medications to inhibit the replication process of the herpes virus. A virus needs to copy its DNA precisely for successful replication. Researchers believe that these newer medications can prevent the virus from replicating. At the moment, there are numerous clinical trials for the treatment of genital herpes that test new treatments. However, these treatments are not likely to be available to patients in the very near future.
Featured Image: DepositPhotos/ kopitinPosted on May 5, 2023